Cobden gets behind grand sports hub plan

COBDEN would be transformed under a bold idea to relocate its football oval to a site near the town’s golf club as part of a new sporting and community precinct.

The concept won strong support when outlined at a community meeting earlier this week. A group was formed to drive the project and push for a feasibility study.

The meeting, which attracted about 40 people including representatives from a wide variety of sporting and service clubs, was hosted by Progressing Cobden.

Those at the meeting unanimously resolved to support the concept and a push for a grant-funded feasibility study to investigate the idea.

The plan comes as both the town’s golf club and the Cobden Sports Club, which is based at the recreation reserve, explore expansion options.

Former Cobden Football Netball Club president James Green told the meeting the recreation reserve was satisfactory 30 years ago but it needed to expand.

He said a proposal like the sporting precinct could have central administration with paid staff and a venue big enough to hold major events, which would benefit the whole town. 

Mr Green said golf, football, cricket and tennis would feature in the new hub but it could also include bowls, squash and possibly education facilities. Nothing was being excluded, he said. 

“It would be better to work together rather than compete for the same grant funding, particularly if it could be shown the organisations involved would have improved facilities that could be accessed by both locals and visitors,” Mr Green said. 

He said the group knew there was much to consider — land, funding, a management structure and other businesses in the town — which highlighted the need for a feasibility study.

It is estimated that up to 3.2ha (eight acres), which is available at the golf course, would be needed to create the hub.

Progressing Cobden’s Kelvin White said the projected needed to be better defined before assessing its feasibility. 

“It’s a lot about tourism as well as providing better resources for current groups. It has the capacity to bring the Cobden community even closer together,” he said. 

“It would involve the whole community, not just the sporting groups.” 

Mr White said it was helpful to have Corangamite Shire’s manager for recreation facilities Brooke Love at the meeting to answer questions about the process and possible funding sources.

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